Although you may be tempted to reach for that broad-spectrum insecticide in order to blow away every pest in sight, you should resist this urge. There are many easy and money saving gardening ideas that can help you control your pest population and provide general maintenance in a way that is safe and effective.
Here are some easy ways to control garden pests while saving money by using regular household items and good overall common sense when providing your garden with general maintenance.
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Why You Should Avoid Most Commercial Pesticides
Before you decide to start using commercial pesticides around your garden, take a moment to decide if your garden pests are hurting the plant. Why should you consider leaving a few insect populations intact?
Insects and other pests are often necessary in order to create a healthy garden. Insects are often responsible for creating organic material, which means that many pests are actually helping enrich your soil matter.
It is estimated that of the thousands of insect species in your area, only about three to five percent of these are actually causing the majority of the damage to your flowers, ornamentals or food crops. The crucial thing is to determine which insects are causing problems, and which are just helping to enrich your garden.
Identifying Your Pest Population
The first thing you have to do is identify your pest population. The last thing you want to do is spray away all of your beneficial insect population. This will only put your garden under more stress and possibly incite further damage.
Many people who spot an insect in their garden will spray indiscriminately. In most cases, this is a mistake. Here are some tips on easy and safe ways to control specific insect populations that are making their home in your garden.
Controlling Ants A Common Pest in Many Gardens
Here are some ideas for controlling ant populations in your garden. Vinegar has been known to keep ants away. Pour vinegar into the anthill in order to control the ant population. Another easy way to control anthills is to use boiling water to tame your ant population. There are certain plants that are also known to control ant populations, including mints, onions, Artemisia, tansy, catnip and lavender.
Beetles in Your Garden Controlling Plant Damage
Beetles have been known to cause plant damage, and they are often known as leaf-chewing insects. There are many plants that you can use to repel beetles. Plant beans, catnip, tansy, calendula, rosemary, nasturtiums, radishes, parsley and petunias in order to keep beetle populations in check in your garden.
Caterpillars Got You Down? Easy Ways to Keep Them in Check
Caterpillars have been known to cause damage, especially larger caterpillars. If you love butterflies, you may not want to get rid of all caterpillars. However, if you find that they have caused significant damage to your plants, here are some ways to keep caterpillars in check.
There are certain plants that are known to repel caterpillars, including mints, Artemisia, marigold, basil, calendula, bay leaves, borage, thyme, nasturtiums, onions, tansy, pennyroyal, sage and rosemary.
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When Birds Become Pests
Most gardeners enjoy a healthy bird population in their yard, but there are instances when birds can become pests. Many birds are known to pick fruit trees clean. Here are some tips to keep birds from ruining your fruit harvest.
Use reflective material like tinfoil or cassette tape across treetops and plants. Hang fake fruit or Christmas tree ornaments on your fruit trees to train birds that pecking is futile. Finally, there are several commercial nets available at nurseries that are designed specifically to keep birds off fruit.